Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2022-2023

A photographic record of whatever leapt out at us

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

A Springtime Like No Other
(observing some very welcome political & legal episodes playing out in the national news)

A March gallimaufry of what little else we had time for

Melvin is deep in thought, again.

-- Melvin, look up! Smile for me!

That's a Melvin-smile, the best we're going to get.

Now what?!

-- Choupette, get a grip!

[For a hagiographical article about Choupette's namesake, the original Choupette, understood to be the richest cat on earth, go here.]

Back to Sherando Lake, with a companion this time

Kristin and Cathy setting off on the 'Cliff Trail' from the Sherando Lake Visitors' Centre (16 March 2023). For some reason, the access road to the Centre is already open, so here we are.

The view of the lake from the high point on the trail

The zigzag path down through the cliffy bits

The first zag, or maybe the second one

Almost there -- this is the last long zig.

A confirmation that at least we're on the right lake

Across the dam at the northern end of the lake; now back to the carpark by a path on the hillside above

Down alongside the spillway, to . . .

. . . cross the North Fork Back Creek (Williams Branch) on this cute little minimalist bridge

Back along the western side of the lake. A fine day out in The Nature.

Staunton's Project Dogwood

Staunton's traditional Project Dogwood has been reinstituted here in the Gypsy Hill Park: there are seven sorts of dogwoods on show (in season).

Dogwoods are already blooming out all over town and the countryside, so we're deeply disappointed here today.

The Star Trail in Fishersville

In our quest for nice little walking places with comfy benches for reading our books on, we've stumbled on the Star Trail in nearby Fishersville, attached to the huge Woodrow Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center as an 'Accessible Nature Trail' for its clientele but also open to the public (26 March 2023).

Here's the accessible nature trail, a bit short, but we can see a little lake just ahead.

A very pretty place, but we've only noticed three comfy benches for getting on with our reading.

Suitable for parties, cookouts, etc.

It's a quiet spot, not overpopulated certainly, today at least (a later visit was not so peaceful).

In any case, the mission of this project is 'Supporting Therapeutic Access to Recreation', and it all looks perfect for that. Just ahead, beside the path, there is an 'Outdoor Fitness Area' with a set of parallel bars and a little waist-twister sort of thing, and a posted set of instructions.

In Switzerland, most communes have their own parcours de santé (the French name), a kilometre or two path through the forest with quite a few waystations as you jog along, with all kinds of rudimentary fixings for different exercises at each one, with instructions for each. They were financed, we understood, by the health insurance companies, making sensible investments in lowering the volume of medical insurance claims.

The little lake

We were able to get hold of a free bench (not all that comfy) for our hour or so with noses in books, but as a walking trail, it wasn't quite the thing for us. A trip round it at a sort of brisk walk took up a little less than eight minutes -- we'd have to put in more than a few laps to make it worth while.

The Star Trail was created by the institution's Physical Plant staff, 'with labor assistance from the Department of Corrections and Boy Scout volunteers and community groups', and was opened in 2008.

A cute little island at the far end

The Avocado

Choupette's acquired a few small infections on the side of her neck, and she's been given a few curative shots by the vet. The Avocado Collar will prevent her from scratching at them.

-- You did this to me!!!
In fact, she had miraculously got it off within ten minutes. But soon got better anyway.

The Morning Ritual. Once Melvin has awakened us, unerringly between 6:55 and 7:05, they plant themselves outside the bedroom door and wait for us to go to the kitchen and verify that there's enough catfood left out for them. There always is, but it's the ceremonial nature of it that endures.

An ambush is being arranged, and Melvin is oblivious. This could be awkward.

As the plot unfolds, sneakily, we're trying to warn Melvin, but he has no idea what we're talking about (he came from France).

The Augusta Springs Wetlands 'Uplands Trail'

Big news at Augusta Springs -- the weather gods have taken their toll.

The entrance is blockaded, we'll . . .

. . . have to hop the fence.
(When was the last time that 'hop the fence' made any sense to us?)

One of the two reading benches -- we'll take the other one after our walk.


We've left the main loop trail (muddy!) and gone up the 'crossover trail' instead, halfway along which . . .

. . . it's intersected by another trail that leads up the centre of the ridgeline, to meet the top of the loop trail a little later.

We note that there is no mud up here, and the terrain is much more beautiful than down by the creeks on either side.

Kristin is to be thanked for doing the heavy lifting today -- she's got our books in the cute little orange sack.

Nearing the top of the path up the spine of the ridge, to . . .

. . . the intersection with the proper Uplands Trail crossing perpendicularly in front of us. The one we're on continues, unmarked from here on, northward into the Undiscovered Country. (We walked about half an hour out on it last autumn, but with no idea where it was heading; possibly West Virginia.)

On the official loop trail back off the ridge

We think of this as the Disused Automobiles Path.

There are about six of these along the creek valley, but this is the only one that intrudes right up to the path. Someone's been playing about with it since we were here a few weeks ago -- the junk is strewn about more widely now. Dangerous work, that: sharp and rusty.

-- I don't know: I like the style, but the color's not right for me. We should go look elsewhere before deciding.

-- Oh, too bad. I rather liked this one. It would need a lot of work though.

-- How about that one?
-- Nah. I still prefer Volvos.
-- But it looks like that may be a Volvo. Like the 1960 Volvo PV 544.

Some reading and some bronzage agricole, and now we hop the fences again.

-- We've never tried wine before. Should we?
-- No, not me.

-- They're going to find us back here. See if you can get the closet door open.

Next up: The Natural Bridge of Virginia

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 15 April 2023.

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